In today’s lesson we’re going to cover another essential for raising Boer goats: feeding. As the saying goes, “our bodies are temples”. Well, so is are the bodies of your Boer goats!
The bottom line is that you have to feed your Boers the most nutritious feed possible while keeping an eye on costs.
Here are some rules of thumb from experienced Boer goat farmers:
- Many people have the wrong impression about goat feed – they think that goats are going to survive on tin cans. Well, Boers are very curious, but they actually choose the best food available to them on the field.
- Boers often go for plants that we consider to be weeds, which are in fact very nutritious. Goats prefer them when they are lush and young, which is when they are most nutritious.
- If you are a good grazier and can do a good job raising good quality forage for your animals in a warm or moderate climate, you can feed your animals for most of the year without purchase feed. But during the winter you probably should provide them with good quality hay, and supplement that with some purchased feed.
- Always keep in mind that it’s unrealistic for your Boers to be in tip-top shape all year round. For example, it’s normal for a doe to lose weight during lactation, or they may be lean toward the end of winter. But don’t worry – they’ll quickly rebound in the spring.
- To grow a goat’s weight in winter just before the slaughter house, you should use purchased feed. The recommended amount is no more than a pound of whatever you feed them. Start with a quarter pound, and increase it to half a pound. But base your feed changes on the body conditions of your animals.
One example of the type of feed used by a lot of Boer goat farmers is Rumensin, which is a medicated feed.
- When thinking about what to feed your Boers, try to “think outside the box”. Industrial byproducts are a cheap way of getting high energy feed. What is available depends on the region you live in. For example, hulled cotton seed or soybean hulls can be mixed with good quality hay to get a very good feed for the winter for a very reasonable cost. This may be even better nutrition than purchased feed (hulled cotton has 18% protein).
- Here’s an example of REALLY thinking outside the box: If you have a bread or donut factory within a reasonable distance from your farm, the sweet, fortified, unsold product makes excellent feed. Some Boer goat operations have been known to pick up old product from donut factories and feed it to their goats!
Makes sense? I hope so! And I hope you got a lot out of this lesson.
Keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow’s lesson – we’re going to be talking about where you can sell your Boers!
To farming profits,
Marc MacDonald is passionate about Boer goats. His newest book,
“Boer Goat Profits Guide: How to Start and Run a Profitable Boer Goat Business“,
teaches farmers how get into “the fastest growing sector of the farm
industry”, and includes interviews with 6 successful Boer goat farmers.
Please click here to learn more about his ground-breaking Boer Goat Profits Guide Power Pack.
Lesson #1: How Much Money Can You Make in Boer Goats?
Lesson #2: How Many Acres Do Boer Goats Need?
Lesson #4: How your Boer Goat’s Health Can Kill Profits